Over the past year, the Southeast Texas Record has reported on the sizeable donations Houston attorney Steve Mostyn kept bestowing upon Charlie Crist, who unsuccessfully sought to return to the Florida governor’s mansion as a Democrat this year.
On Friday, the Sunshine State News released an article entitled “The Mystery of Millionaire Donor Steve Mostyn: Why Charlie Crist, Why Florida?,” which questioned why a wealthy Texas Democrat, with no current business in Florida, would out-donate billionaire George Soros.
As previously reported by the Record, Mostyn, who made hundreds of millions suing insurers following Hurricane Ike, pumped $1.2 million into Crist’s coffers.
Campaign finance records further show the attorney gave another million dollars to the Florida Democratic Party. Soros contributed around $1 million total to the former Republican governor.
“But Mostyn, who has a load of money but nowhere near Soros' loot, comes riding out of the cactus with more than twice that in his saddlebags -- $2.3 million. And all for Crist and the FDP trying to get him elected. What a way to say howdy pardner,” writes Nancy Smith in the Sunshine article.
“And that $2.3 million doesn't count the in-kind trips Crist took on Mostyn's jet during the campaign. It might not even be a grand total -- there may be contributions from other sources we're not aware of.”
In a Nov. 14 interview, Mark Wilson, president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, offered a theory on why outside individuals and groups, like the Mostyn Law Firm and Soros for example, spent small fortunes funding Crist.
“Trial lawyers outside Florida provided millions in political dollars to Charlie Crist for the same reason George Soros … invested in Charlie Crist,” Wilson said.
“They, like government unions and other big government supporters, believe in a very different future for America. They all united in their effort to try to establish a massive Florida advantage in the 2016 presidential race.”
In her article, Smith presents an interview with Darren McKinney, director of communications for the American Tort Reform Association, who gave a different take on why Mostyn funded Crist.
Plaintiff friendly Florida courts and an opportunity to ally himself with a governor who could have potentially reshaped the state’s Supreme Court presented a chance for Mostyn to expand his business across state lines, according to McKinney.
"Mostyn isn't George Soros, but if he's not a billionaire yet, he's close. He can set up shop anywhere in the country he likes, and I think he liked the look of Florida under Charlie Crist," McKinney said in the article.
"It's the construct of the state Supreme Court. Four of the seven justices are due to leave the court before the next governor is out of office."
Wilson had previously said that not just Mostyn, but many other trial lawyers gave heavily to Crist, a trial lawyer himself, in hopes of having one of their own appoint new justices to the court.
“Mostyn is quite a player, make no mistake. He is the largest funder of liberal candidates in Texas, candidates who oppose lawsuit reform and push a pro-lawsuit agenda,” writes Smith.
“Because he knows most Texans are conservative and detest lawsuit abuse, he has created a number of groups with conservative-sounding names to pull the wool over conservatives' eyes.”
Some of the political action committees to which Smith refers include Texans for Individual Rights, Conservative Voters of Texas and Back to Basics.
Smith concludes her article by saying: “But I admit, it does my heart good to see political players with as much money as Mostyn has, with no real feel for the state they're playing in or the people who live there, whose political convictions are intertwined with their personal-business ambitions ... it does my heart so good to see them lose their investment at the polls. Take a bow, voters.”